Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell Named Chair

Washington, DC –Today, U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) President Miami Mayor Francis Suarez named Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell as the first chair of the organization’s new Standing Committee on Technology and Innovation. The new committee will examine broadband deployment, cybersecurity, and city digital services, as well as promote best practices and help set the Conference’s policy on these and other related issues.

The Committee’s initial work in the coming months will prioritize a focus on broadband, especially accessing funding included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for infrastructure deployment and digital equity. Additionally, it will concentrate on the threat of cybersecurity attacks that continue to plague cities across the country. The Committee’s purview will also include issues such as government procurement, the gig economy, disinformation on the internet, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, the metaverse, consumer privacy, smart cities, and data governance.

“With Mayor Harrell’s leadership, this new standing committee will keep mayors and cities at the cutting-edge of what’s possible in the market and in government,” said Mayor Suarez. “Technology changes rapidly, and we want to ensure mayors and cities stay nimble and are the drivers of digital progress.”

“I’m honored to lead this effort and committee at the U.S. Conference of Mayors,” said Mayor Harrell. “Seattle is known for big, progress-driving ideas and an unyielding commitment to innovation. My goal is to bring forward that same spirit and work together with my fellow mayors to expand our embrace of technology and big ideas, delivering new opportunities and positive change from inside city hall to residents all across our communities.”

The Conference has long been involved with the evolving impacts of technology and innovation on cities. A task force on technology and innovation was established in 2012 as an initial venue for discussion. However, given the increasing need for the organization to adopt policy on these issues, Task Force Chair Austin Mayor Steve Adler proposed the creation of the Technology and Innovation Standing Committee. Mayor Suarez and the Executive Committee unanimously agreed to establish the committee at USCM’s Annual Meeting in Reno this past June. It joins the Conference’s twelve other standing committees on topics such as health, housing, energy, and transportation.

“We thank Mayor Suarez and Mayor Adler for proposing, and the Executive Committee for establishing, this needed standing committee on technology and innovation,” said Tom Cochran, USCM CEO and executive director. “The Conference is so pleased to have Mayor Harrell guide its work on new and emerging technologies. Broadband and cybersecurity are pressing issues for cities, especially as new federal dollars become available from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. With this standing committee, the Conference can help mayors continue to make cities hubs for innovation.”